Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Notion That Amputee Runners Gain Advantage From Protheses Further Disputed

Date:
November 9, 2009
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
A new study shows that amputees who use running-specific prosthetic legs have no performance advantage over counterparts who use their biological legs.

Oscar Pistorius. Amputees who use running-specific prosthetic legs have no performance advantage over counterparts who use their biological legs, according to new research.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Colorado at Boulder

A study by six researchers, including a University of Colorado at Boulder associate professor and his former doctoral student, shows that amputees who use running-specific prosthetic legs have no performance advantage over counterparts who use their biological legs.

A debate on the matter was spurred when Oscar Pistorius, a bilateral amputee, was barred from the 400-meter dash at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and other able-body races. The International Association of Athletics Federations that barred Pistorius claimed his Cheetah Flex-Foot prostheses provided significant advantages over non-amputee competitors, agreeing with other studies that found prostheses reduce the energy cost of running. In addition, some have proposed that the lighter weight of specially designed sport prostheses facilitates a quicker swing of the leg.

The new study was published Nov. 4 in Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society in London, and is co-authored by Alena Grabowski and Hugh Herr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Craig McGowan of the University of Texas at Austin, William McDermott of The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray, Utah, and Rodger Kram of CU-Boulder's department of integrative physiology and its Locomotion Laboratory. Grabowski, lead author on the study, received her doctoral degree in integrative physiology at CU-Boulder under Kram in 2007.

After Pistorius was barred from the Olympic Games in January of last year, the U.S. research team presented findings in April 2008 to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, that were key in the reversal of the ban on Pistorius.

"We have already shown that Pistorius runs differently in terms of his biomechanics," said Kram. "Now we have much more clear evidence that his prosthetic legs incur significant disadvantages."

Data in the study include new measurements taken from an analysis of six unilateral amputees. The comparison of the amputees' prosthetic legs to their biological legs provided a more controlled test, according to Kram.

The researchers measured forces exerted on the ground and leg "swing times" while the unilateral amputees ran on a high-speed treadmill at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital. The running-specific prostheses impaired the force production of runners by an average of 9 percent. Force production is generally believed to be the key factor behind running speed. No differences in leg swing times were measured.

One of Kram's undergraduate students, Matt Beale, also analyzed video from the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"We found that Pistorius and the other amputee sprinters have leg swing times for both their prosthetic and biological legs that are very similar to those of Usain Bolt," said Kram. "We think the amputees learn that swinging their legs rapidly can help to partially compensate for their force disadvantage."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Craig P. McGowan, William J. McDermott, Matthew T. Beale, Rodger Kram, and Hugh M. Herr. Running-specific prostheses limit ground-force during sprinting. Biol. Lett., Published online before print November 4, 2009 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0729

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Notion That Amputee Runners Gain Advantage From Protheses Further Disputed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104123041.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2009, November 9). Notion That Amputee Runners Gain Advantage From Protheses Further Disputed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104123041.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Notion That Amputee Runners Gain Advantage From Protheses Further Disputed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104123041.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins